My third ride of the eighth coffeeneuring challenge; far better weather than a , but much worse coffee.

A six thirty start, first time back on the AWOL after it spent the week at the LBS having the bottom bracket replaced. Last was the last straw, although it had seemed OK on Sunday when we went out exploring, on Monday morning it was dead – the occasional noise under load was now a constant grinding.

The ride out to the Dandenongs along Ferntree Gully road is not my favourite, at least early in the morning traffic is fairly light. The road has little or no shoulder, the traffic is fast, and the further away from the city you get the worse behaved seemed to be the drivers.

Rode past one major crash at an intersection; two motorists had driven into each other. Perhaps I can paraphrase the Victorian Police and suggest that the cars should have been wearing bright colours and have their lights on to avoid being driven into by other cars – that seems to be their endless victim-blaming statement to cyclists.

Arrived at The Basin and had to make my choice; up the 1 in 20 or take the dirt road … I’d been looking forward to a spin in the forest so I took the gravel option. Its been ages since I’ve been out this way and I’d forgotten that there’s both the Old Mountain Highway and the Basin-Olinda road as choices, I kept going straight ahead on the Basin-Olinda road and wound my way up through the forest, towering Mountain Ash overhead and tree ferns and all manner of scrub underneath. Lots of white cockatoos and crimson rosellas, as well as other birds calling from the forest around.

From about two thirds of the way up I could see another pair of cyclists behind me, gradually catching up, and I kept expecting them to meet or pass me, but was still ahead – just – when we finally came out of the forest and rejoined the tarmac at Olinda.

After a breather I headed back towards Ferntree Gully along the main tourist road, amazed at how many other rides I could see coming towards me, and sometimes catching and passing me from behind. I’m just not used to seeing other riders in my weekday riding.

On along the ridge, then swooping down the main road back to Ferntree Gully and back to the ugly reality of Saturday morning traffic in outer suburbia. Lots of noise, lots of close passes, too many people in too much of a hurry.

My plan for the morning’s coffee was to call in at Frank’s Pasticceria, on the corner of Ferntree Gully road and Scorsby road, I’d seen them on the way out and thought it an interesting place to visit. I pulled up and the immediate greeting was of a dog at one of the outside tables going absolutely berserk as soon as it saw me. The owner was barely able to hold it down but told me “He’ll be alright once you take your helmet off.” Sure enough, once I’d parked and taken helmet and gloves off it calmed down! Then for the disappointment; I walked inside, saw the big sign telling me “Table service, please take a seat” so I did. Then I sat… and I sat. Meanwhile the people who came in before me got their menus, and managed to order, and started to get coffees, and one of the couples who came in after me got their menus… After over ten minutes of this I gave up, got up and walked back out, put my helmet & gloves back on and rode off up the road.

A block or two up the road there was an advertising board by the footpath, pointing down a side street and a sign “Something Something cafe, open for breakfast and Lunch” so I turned off and rode down the street to it. Nope, closed. Turn around and head back to the main road.

There’s a McDonald’s McCafé on the corner, but I have my standards so I kept on going.

Another block or two and there’s a small shopping centre on the right – surely there’s a coffee shop here! I pulled in and saw almost side by side a café and a bakery and chose the former, mostly because I was closest to it. Well strike three for today’s coffee choices. It looked good, and had a lovely thick chocolatey foam on top, but the coffee was very weak and scaldingly hot. The bacon and egg muffin wasn’t that crash hot either. Add that to the blaringly loud daytime television blasting out through the otherwise empty cafe and I’ll have to say I’ll try the bakery next time!

Mountain Ash, tree ferns, and a ho-hum cappuccino afterwards
Mountain Ash, tree ferns, and a ho-hum cappuccino afterwards

Still, I had my ride and I visited a previously unvisited location and I had their coffee. Onwards and upwards, three down, four to go.

2018 Coffeeneuring no. 3 -- Mountain Ash, Tree ferns and bad coffee
2018 Coffeeneuring no. 3 -- Mountain Ash, Tree ferns and bad coffee

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